February 28, 2022

Sweeping New Sanctions: US, EU, UK and Other Countries Target Russia for Ukraine Invasion

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SWEEPING NEW SANCTIONS: US, EU, UK AND OTHER COUNTRIES TARGET RUSSIA FOR UKRAINE INVASION

Over the past week, the United States, the European Union and its member states, the United Kingdom, and several other countries have imposed rounds of sweeping new sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The landscape is changing rapidly, and reports indicate that additional sanctions could be forthcoming. We are tracking these developments closely and may provide further updates as the situation evolves.

The sanctions are multi-faceted and at times complex and far-reaching, with potential implications for any business operating in the global economy, even those with no immediate or direct ties to Russia. Corporations and financial institutions should conduct a risk assessment to determine if and how these sanctions will impact their operations and business relationships.

This note summarizes and discusses the implications of, and legal background to, the main new sanctions coming out of this crisis, as they stood at midnight on February 27, 2022.

Prior to Russias invasion of Ukraine, named Russian persons and businesses were already subject to wide-ranging international sanctions, linked to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and other events. Since February 21, 2022, these were ramped up considerably. From February 21-23, 2022, the US, EU, UK, Japan, and Australia announced an initial round of sanctions after Russia officially recognized two Russian-backed separatist regions of eastern Ukraine—the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (respectively, “DNR” and “LNR”). The first wave of new sanctions targeted Russian sovereign debt, several Russian banks, and a number of Russian “elites” and officials, including Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The measures additionally included a trade and investment embargo on the two separatist regions—similar to existing restrictions concerning Crimea. Germany also announced that it would halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipeline. The US followed with sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, its CEO, and its corporate officers on February 23, 2022.

A second wave of sanctions was deployed after Russian forces crossed into Ukraine and launched air strikes. On February 24, 2022, the US, EU, UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Canada announced sanctions, which included targeting Russian financial institutions and individuals, extending restrictions on debt and equity, and announcing new controls on exports of high-tech goods into Russia and the DNR and LNR.

On February 25, 2022, the US, UK, EU, and Canada further intensified the pressure by directly targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with asset freezes and, in the US, travel bans. Australia also announced on February 26, 2022 that it would seek to directly sanction President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.

On February 26, 2022, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada, and the US committed to undertake further restrictive measures within the coming days. The announced moves include removing key Russian banks from using the secure financial messaging system operated by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (“SWIFT”) and imposing sanctions on the Russian Central Bank, designed to significantly restrict the bank’s access to its foreign currency reserves. Japan subsequently announced that it would join the measures to block Russia from SWIFT on February 27, 2022.

As noted above, Russia is no stranger to sanctions. The US, EU, UK and Japan have each previously imposed sanctions on Russia in response to various historic events.

In recent years, Russia has sought to buffer the Russian economy against Western sanctions as part of its “Fortress Russia” strategy. It remains to be seen whether this latest wave of concerted sanctions efforts by the US, EU, UK, and other countries around the world will have the intended effect. However, they are by far the strongest and widest ranging package of sanctions that have been imposed on Russia.

This client note covers sanctions announced on or before February 27, 2022.

Key Takeaways

  • The sweeping, new, and, in some ways, unprecedented sanctions related to Russia are multi-faceted and at times complex and far-reaching, with potential implications for any business operating in the global economy, even those with no immediate or direct ties to Russia.
  • Corporations and financial institutions should conduct a risk assessment to determine if and how these sanctions will impact their operations and business relationships. Businesses and individuals with any links to Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine should be well-advised to draw up a list of their connections with Russia (whether they involve investments, people or customers) and to be particularly vigilant as new sanctions are introduced or developed.
  • To the extent necessary, any corrective action, including any permissible winddown measures, should be taken in time to meet any winddown deadlines. Additionally, companies should review and update their compliance policies and procedures as necessary to effectively mitigate against new sanctions, AML, and anti-corruption risks.
  • Legal advice should be sought in complex cases as the impact of these sanctions on any transaction, investment, shareholding or customer relationship is necessarily a fact-specific inquiry. These sanctions as a whole contain few generally applicable rules and may have complex and unforeseeable consequences for businesses. Their impact will be highly dependent on the specific details of the transactions and circumstances in question.

US Sanctions

The US sanctions regime consists of a number of sanctions programs with a combination of country-wide, sectoral, targeted, and secondary sanctions. The sanctions program related to Russia and Ukraine is implemented primarily by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”)—along with the State Department and Commerce Department—pursuant to Executive Orders (“EOs”) issued by the President and legislation passed by Congress.

On February 21, 2022, the US President issued EO 14065, imposing comprehensive economic sanctions on the DNR and LNR, along with any other regions of Ukraine that may be later added by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State (the “Covered Regions”). Relatedly, the US authorized blocking sanctions on individuals operating in the Covered Regions. The measures include:

  • Region-based Sanctions. The EO prohibits: (1) new investment by a US person in the Covered Regions, (2) the import into the US of any goods, services, or technology from the Covered Regions, (3) the export from the US or by a US person of any goods, services, or technology to the Covered Regions, and (4) US persons from financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing transactions that US persons would be prohibited from engaging in directly. These sanctions are similar to the 2014 sanctions imposed on the Crimea region following Russia’s incursions there and effectively prohibit nearly all US-nexus trade with the DNR and LNR.
  • Blocking Sanctions. The EO also authorizes blocking sanctions on individuals determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, determined to, as of February 21, 2022 to: (1) be operating in the Covered Regions, (2) be a leader, official, senior executive order, or member of the board of directors of an entity operating in the Covered Regions, (3) be owned, controlled by, or acting on behalf of a blocked person, or (4) have materially assisted, sponsored, or supported a blocked person.

Concurrent with EO 14065, OFAC issued six general licenses that provide exceptions to the restrictions and permit the following activities in the Covered Regions:

  • Transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to winding down commercial business until March 23, 2022 (General License 17);
  • Exports of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components, or software updates (General License 18);
  • Transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the receipt or transmission of telecommunications (General License 19);
  • Official business of specified international organizations and entities (General License 20);
  • Transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the transfer of noncommercial, personal remittances (General License 21); and
  • Exports of certain services incident to the exchange of personal communications over the internet or related software services (General License 22).

On February 22, 2022, OFAC designated to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (the “SDN List”) two major Russian financial institutions and numerous individuals deemed to have ties to President Putin. OFAC also increased restrictions on the ability of US persons to deal in Russia’s sovereign debt. These actions were taken pursuant to EO 14024, which expanded the categories of Russian persons targeted by US sanctions.

  • Financial Institutions. OFAC designated two financial institutions—the Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (“VEB”), a non-commercial development institution under Russian state control, and Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company (“PSB”), a Russian state-owned bank—that it deemed to play specific roles in financing the Russian defense industry. OFAC also sanctioned 42 of VEB and PSB’s subsidiaries.
  • Russian Individuals. OFAC designated three Russian “elites”: (1) Denis Aleksandrovich Bortnikov, (2) Petr Mikhailovich Fradkov, and (3) Vladimir Sergeevich Kiriyenko.
  • Sovereign Debt Restrictions. OFAC issued Directive 1A, superseding Directive 1, which extended existing sovereign debt prohibitions. While US persons were previously banned from participation in the primary market for new debt issued by the Russian Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, or Ministry of Finance, these restrictions now apply to secondary market trading activities for bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by these Russian entities.

Concurrently, OFAC issued two general licenses, authorizing:

  • Transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the servicing of bonds issued before March 1, 2022 by the Russian Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, or Ministry of Finance, unless these transactions are prohibited by Directive 1A (General License 2); and
  • Transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to winding down business dealings with VEB until March 24, 2022 (General License 3).

On February 23, 2022, OFAC designated Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig to the SDN List. The State Department also announced visa restrictions on Nord Stream 2 AG’s corporate officers under the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act, implemented through EO 14039.

Concurrently, OFAC issued a general license, which authorized transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to winding down transactions involving Nord Stream 2 AG (General License 4).

On February 24, 2022, OFAC announced additional measures targeting the Russian financial system.

  • Financial Institutions. OFAC imposed measures on:
    • Sberbank. OFAC is requiring all US financial institutions to close by March 26, 2022 any correspondent or payable-through accounts and to reject future transactions involving Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia (“Sberbank”), Russia’s largest and majority state-owned financial institution, or its 25 foreign financial institution subsidiaries (listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive). To implement these sanctions, OFAC issued Directive 2 under EO 14024, which prohibits US financial institutions from (1) opening or maintaining a correspondent or payable-through account for or on behalf of any entity subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, or their property, or (ii) processing transactions involving any such entities subject to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, or their property.
    • VTB Bank. OFAC imposed full blocking sanctions on VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company (“VTB Bank”), Russia’s second largest and state-owned bank, and 20 of its subsidiaries pursuant to EO 14024. VTB Bank is one of the largest financial institutions OFAC has ever blocked.
    • Additional Russian Financial Institutions. OFAC has further designated three additional Russian financial institutions as subject to blocking sanctions under EO 14024: (1) Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie (“Otkritie”) and 12 Otkritie subsidiaries, (2) Open Joint Stock Company Sovcombank (“Sovcombank”) and 22 Sovcombank subsidiaries, and (3) Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank (“Novikombank”).
  • Russia-Related Debt and Equity. OFAC issued Directive 3, which expands Russia-related debt and equity restrictions. Similar to the previous Directives imposing sectoral sanctions related to Ukraine, Directive 3 prohibits US persons from all transactions in, provisions of financing for, and other dealings by US persons or within the US in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity and new equity issued by listed entities. OFAC identified 13 Russian state-owned enterprises and other entities as subject to the measures: (1) Sberbank, (2) Gazprombank, (3) Russian Agricultural Bank, (4) Gazprom, (5) Gazprom Neft, (6) Transneft, (7) Rostelecom, (8) RusHydro, (9) Alrosa, (10) Sovcomflot, (11) Russian Railways, (12) Alfa-Bank, and (13) Credit Bank of Moscow.
  • Russian Individuals. OFAC designated several individuals described as “influential Russians in Putin’s inner circle and in elite positions of power within the Russian state”: (1) Sergei Sergeevich Ivanov, (2) Andrey Patrushev, (3) Ivan Igorevich Sechin. OFAC also designated senior executives at state-owned banks: (1) Alexander Aleksandrovich Vedyakhin, (2) Andrey Sergeyevich Puchkov, and (3) Yuriy Alekseyevich Soloviev, along with his wife Galina Olegovna Ulyutina.

In conjunction with the OFAC announcements, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced new restrictions on exports from the US to Russia of high-tech goods, including semiconductors, computers, telecommunications, information security equipment, lasers, and sensors. BIS also added 49 Russian military end users to its entity list.

Additionally, on February 24, 2022, OFAC designated 24 Belarusian individuals and entities for Belarus’s support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On February 25, 2022, the White House announced that the US would sanction President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov directly. OFAC designated President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov pursuant to EO 14024 for their direct responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine. Sanctioning a head of state is rare. President Putin joins a small group of leaders sanctioned by the US, including Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, and Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

EU Sanctions

In the European Union, decisions on the adoption of sanctions are taken by the Council of the European Union (“European Council”) on the basis of proposals from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy. The High Representative together with the European Commission give effect to these decisions through joint proposals for Council regulations, which are then adopted by the Council. The Commission also oversees Member-State implementation of EU sanctions regimes. In addition, member states of the European Union are permitted to introduce their own sanctions regimes.

The current EU sanctions regime against Russia includes asset freezes and travel bans, sectoral sanctions, and trade and investment restrictions.

On February 23, 2022, the European Council agreed on a first sanctions package in response to Russia’s recognition of the self-proclaimed DNR and LNR as independent States, and other destabilizing actions in Ukraine.

The adopted measures included asset freezing restrictions against the following four entities (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/265 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/260).

  • Bank Rossiya, the personal bank of senior Russian officials;
  • PSB;
  • VEB; and
  • Internet Research Agency, a Russian company engaging in “online influence operations on behalf of Russia”.

With respect to Bank Rossiya, PSB, and VEB, a derogation mechanism was adopted to permit transactions necessary for the winding down of certain operations concluded with these entities before February 23, 2022 (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/265 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/259).

Also on February 23, 2022, asset freezing restrictions and travel bans were introduced against:

  • 22 Russian individuals, including Russian government ministers, senior military personnel, pro-Russian media personalities, and other businesspeople with connections to the Russian government and defense forces (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/265 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/260). Designated individuals include:
    • Russian Defense Minister Shoigu;
    • Igor Shuvalov, chairman of VEB;
    • Andrei Leonidovich Kostin, president and chairman of VTB Bank; and
    • Denis Aleksandrovich Bortnikov, deputy president and chairman of VTB’s management board.
  • 336 members of the Russian State Duma who voted in favor of a resolution appealing to President Putin to recognize the DNR and LNR as independent states (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/267 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/261).

The February 23, 2022 sanctions package also introduced a prohibition on the Russian government and Russian Central Bank (as well as any legal person, entity or body acting on behalf of or at the direction of the Russian Central Bank) from accessing EU financial and capital markets (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/264 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/262). EU persons are now further prohibited from directly or indirectly making or being part of any arrangement to issue new loans or credit to these bodies.

These measures came on top of existing prohibitions on the purchase, sale or provision of brokering or other assistance in issuing, or otherwise dealing with, certain transferable securities and money-market instruments to specified credit institutions and other entities.

The package of sanctions adopted on February 23, 2022 moreover introduced certain trade and investment restrictions (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/266 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/263). These include bans on:

  • imports into the EU of goods from the DNR and LNR;
  • investments in the DNR and LNR and the provision of financing or services in relation to these investments; and
  • exports to the DNR and LNR from the EU, or using vessels or aircraft under a Member State’s jurisdiction, of goods or technology for use in the transport, telecommunications, energy, oil & gas, and mineral resources sectors.

On February 24 and 25, 2022, a further package of restrictive measures was announced targeting the finance, defense, energy, aviation, and space sectors (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/327 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/328). It includes measures to:

  • expand existing financial restrictions on Russian entities’ ability to access EU capital markets;
  • ban the listing and provision of services in relation to the shares of Russian State-owned entities on EU trading venues;
  • significantly limit financial inflows from Russia to the EU by prohibiting (1) the acceptance of deposits exceeding certain values from Russian nationals or residents, (2) the holding of Russian-client accounts by EU central securities depositories, as well as (3) the selling of Euro-denominated securities to Russian clients;
  • enhance existing restrictions on exports of dual-use goods (i.e. with both civilian and military applications) and technology, as well as other goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s enhancement of its defense and security sector, along with the provision of related services;
  • restrict exports of dual-use goods and technology related to oil refining, along with the provision of related services; and
  • ban exports of goods and technology suited for use in the aviation and aerospace industry, along with the provision of services, including insurance, reinsurance, and maintenance services, as well as technical and financial assistance.

On February 25, 2022, the EU announced its decision to freeze the assets of President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.

At the same time, the EU announced that its sanctions regime will be extended to members of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation, the remaining members of the Russian State Duma who supported Russia’s recognition of the DNR and LNR, together with individuals who facilitated the Russian military aggression from Belarus (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/331 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/332).

The EU moreover expanded the criteria for designating individuals and entities under the existing sanctions regime to include, among others, those supporting materially or financially, or benefiting from, Russian decision-makers responsible for the destabilization of Ukraine, along with leading businesspersons and entities involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Russian government (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/329 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/330). This paves the way for additional designations of prominent individuals and entities in the coming days.

It was also announced that diplomats and other Russian officials, as well as Russian businesspeople, will no longer enjoy the benefit of visa facilitation provisions allowing for privileged access to the EU. The decision does not affect ordinary Russian citizens (Council Decision (EU) 2022/333).

This was followed by an announcement on February 27, 2022 that the EU was banning Russian news outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, shutting down EU airspace for all Russian-owned, registered or controlled aircraft, and introducing a new package of sanctions against the regime of Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko and other Belarussians helping the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

UK Sanctions

The UK has historically operated its own sanctions regime which was distinct from, and often more far-reaching than, that of the EU. A revamped domestic sanctions regime was introduced in the UK under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. The majority of prior UK and EU sanctions in place at the time of the UK’s exit from the EU were brought under this legislation. The new regime also provided the UK government with powers to introduce new sanctions and wide-ranging enforcement powers. Sanctions are binding on both individuals and legal entities within (or undertaking activities in) the UK, as well as UK persons (UK nationals and entities incorporated under the law of the UK) wherever they may be in the world (“UK Persons”).

The UK’s sanctions regime has stood out from other regimes in respect of Russia, in light of at least two attacks by Russian agents on persons on UK soil over the last two decades and Russias annexation of Crimea. The UK therefore already had in place extensive sanctions against Russia including the listing of almost 200 individuals or entities linked to Russia prior to February 2022.

The UK measures in place as of February 27, 2022 with regard to Russian actions in Ukraine include:

  • Travel bans and / or targeted financial sanctions (in the form of asset freezes) on 190 named individuals and 59 entities with connections to the Russian regime and key strategic industries. Of these, 10 individuals and 11 entities were designated following Russia's invasion of Ukraine over the past week. The new designations include banks such as VTB Bank and defense groups such as Rostec and the Tactical Missile Corporation, as well as President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. The asset freezes prohibit UK Persons from dealing with assets belonging, or making funds or other assets or economic resources available to the relevant individuals and entities (or entities they own or control), or engaging in actions that circumvent those prohibitions;
  • An airspace restriction preventing Russian airlines (including national airline Aeroflot) from operating in UK airspace;
  • Trade restrictions on a wide range of military, dual-use (i.e. with both civilian and military applications) and other defined types of goods, services and technologies. These restrictions extend to financial and brokering services provided with the object of facilitating such trade. Following Russias invasion of Ukraine, all licenses previously issued for the export of dual-use goods were immediately revoked; and
  • Investment bans previously introduced in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea continue to apply:
    • against key Russian industries, covering 11 Russian entities. They are designed to inhibit access to investment for strategic Russian industries, such as oil and gas. UK Persons are prohibited from dealing in certain securities issued by those 11 entities (or entities they own or control), including by providing investment services relating to the securities. UK Persons are also prohibited from entering into certain loan or credit arrangements with the 11 entities (or entities they own or control).
    • in respect of Crimea, prohibiting investment in land or commercial opportunities in the region.

In addition, certain measures announced on February 24, 2022 have yet to enter into force, but are expected to be implemented shortly. These include:

  • Further sanctions on all members of the Russian parliament who voted to recognize the independence of the DNR and LNR;
  • Bans on access to UK capital markets and payments systems for key Russian businesses;
  • A restriction on Russia raising sovereign debt via UK financial markets;
  • A prohibition on the export of a wide range of further high-tech goods and equipment, including, in particular, those used in the extraction of gas and oil; and
  • Limits on the level of deposits Russian nationals may hold in UK banks (expected to be set at £50,000).

Further still, the UK government has indicated that it intends to extend sanctions to Sberbank (Russia’s largest state-owned bank) and the Russian Central Bank, as well as to Belarus for its role in Russia's actions in Ukraine. More generally, the UK Government has announced that it will fast track previously contemplated domestic measures designed to increase transparency in UK property markets and businesses, including the introduction of a register of beneficial ownership for foreign-owned UK property, in order to aid the enforcement of its sanctions regime.

Multilateral Measures

On February 26, 2022, a joint statement by the US, EU, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Canada condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine. The states committed to implement further measures, including:

  • removing certain Russian banks (as of yet unidentified) from their ability to use the SWIFT messaging system;
  • imposing restrictions to prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of the sanctions regimes in place;
  • launching a transatlantic task force to identify and freeze assets of sanctioned individuals and companies held within each nation’s jurisdiction; and
  • stepping up coordination against disinformation and other forms of hybrid warfare.

Blocking selected Russian banks from their ability to use the SWIFT system is a rare step which will affect their ability to operate in the global financial system. The only other countries whose institutions have been blocked previously from SWIFT are Iran and North Korea.

Other Countries

Several other countries have imposed restrictions similar to those of the US, EU, and UK.

Japan. Japan has announced the following measures:

  • a ban on the issuance and trading of new Russian sovereign bonds in Japan;
  • asset freezes targeting Bank Rossiya, PSB, and VEB;
  • export controls on high-tech products such as semiconductors to military-linked groups; and
  • a suspension of visa issuances for certain Russian individuals and entities.

On February 27, 2022, Japan further announced that it would join the US, EU, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy in blocking certain Russian banks’ access to SWIFT. All G7 countries have, therefore, now agreed to the SWIFT ban.

Australia. On February 23, 2022, Australia announced that it would impose targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on members of Russia’s National Security Council, as well as targeted financial sanctions on Russian institutions including Bank Rossiya, and PSB (in addition to existing sanctions against VEB).

This was followed on February 25, 2022 by an announcement that fresh sanctions would be placed against “oligarchs whose economic weight is of strategic significance to Moscow” and more than 300 members of the Russian State Duma, among others. On February 26, 2022, the Minister for Foreign Affairs further announced that she would be seeking to directly sanction President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.

Also in recent days, Australia has adopted:

  • The Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Russia) Regulations 2022, introducing new listing criteria allowing the Minister for Foreign Affairs to designate a person or entity for targeted financial sanctions, or declare a person for a travel ban, including if the person or entity is engaging in activity or performing a function that is of economic or strategic significance to Russia, or a current or former minister or senior government official (or an immediate family member of such a person).
  • The Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Ukraine Regions) Regulations 2022, extending to the DNR and LNR from March 28, 2022 sanctions measures already applied to Crimea and Sevastopol. The Regulations include a power for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to specify other areas of Ukraine, should they fall under Russian influence, to which these measures would then apply. The measures target exports and commercial activity in relation to the transport, telecommunications, energy and exploitation of oil, gas, and mineral reserve sectors, and prohibit all imports.

Australian sanction laws apply to activities in Australia and to activities undertaken overseas by Australian citizens and Australian-registered bodies corporate.

New Zealand. While lacking its own sanctions law, New Zealand has announced in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

  • travel bans on Russian government officials and others associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine;
  • a suspension of consultations between the foreign ministries of Russia and New Zealand; and
  • a blanket ban on exports to the Russian military.

Taiwan. Taiwan has likewise announced its intention to impose sanctions targeting Russia in response to the crisis in Ukraine. While details have not been announced, it is anticipated that the measures may include restrictions on energy imports and high-tech exports such as semiconductors.

Canada. Canada has imposed far-reaching sanctions under its Special Economic Measures Act and associated Regulations in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, Canada published additional amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations and Special Economic Measures (Ukraine) Regulations, imposing further restrictive measures against Russia, along with the DNR and LNR. The new sanctions include, among other measures:

  • a prohibition for any person in Canada or Canadian outside Canada to engage in financial transactions with certain listed Russian financial institutions, including the Russian Central Bank;
  • the addition of members of the Russian State Duma who voted in favor of recognizing the independence of the DNR and LNR;
  • the inclusion of a number of Russian financial institutions as designated entities subject to restrictions, including Sberbank, VTB, PSB, and VEB;
  • the designation of other Russian corporations, including Rostec, Gazprom and Transneft; and
  • export bans in respect of certain controlled goods or technology destined for Russia, or the DNR and LNR.

This was followed by an announcement on February 25, 2022 that Canada would be adding to its list of designated individuals and entities President Putin, Putin’s Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov, and Foreign Minister Lavrov, along with various Belarusian leaders for their role in aiding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As noted above, Canada has also joined the other G7 countries and the European Commission in stating its intention to exclude Russian banks from SWIFT.

Footnotes

[1] Once an individual or entity is designated to the SDN List, the SDN’s assets within the US are frozen, and US persons are prohibited from dealing with the SDN without OFAC authorization. The restrictions extend by operation of law under OFAC’s 50 percent rule to any non-listed entities that are majority-owned by a designated SDN.

[2] Under OFAC’s 50 percent rule, the prohibitions also apply to foreign financial institutions that are 50 percent or more owned by a foreign financial institution determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive. (OFAC FAQ 969).

[3] Under OFAC’s 50 percent rule, the prohibitions include entities 50 percent or more owned by one or more entities subject to the prohibitions of Directive 3. (OFAC FAQ 985).

[4] The definition of “transferable securities” has been expanded as a result of the February 23, 2022 measures. (See Council Regulation (EU) 2022/262).

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